The Lead Foot Syndrome

Courtesy of Los Angeles traffic, not a lovely sight to see especially if you are in it.
Courtesy of
Los Angeles traffic, not a lovely sight to see especially if you are in it.

Living in Los Angeles certainly changes the way I drive. If I drove like how I used to in the Midwest, I would get honked at every single light and probably get the middle finger a lot! Even though I still say I am actually one of the slower drivers here in the city, when I go back to the Midwest I can definitely see that I drive differently now.

Traffic and congestion in Los Angeles is not fun. About half the time just driving around you can run into some kind of traffic for absolutely no reason at all! Plus since it is a big city there are so many people living here. This creates quite a mess sometimes. You will see drivers with their foot stomping on their gas racing from one red light to another only to brake at the last second. You can imagine what this does to gas mileage!

I cannot really get away from the traffic and too many cars here, unless I moved away from here, but at least there is something I can do to try to get the most gas mileage possible. Hypermilling!

Hypermilling is basically changing the way you drive to get the best gas mpg possible. When that light turns red, just gradually start stepping on that gas pedal and let your car slowly speed up. When you see a light turn red in front of you, take your foot off the pedal and coast to the light. On highways also, if you can stay around 60mph you can save tons of gas that way!

I happen to drive a pretty gas efficient car already. 2006 Corolla that gets an estimated 28 city and 37 highway. For a combined mpg of 31. I do plenty of local driving and get stuck in traffic a good amount both local and highway. Funny how I actually end up getting that average mpg of 31! Some weeks I do better and get 32mpg but 31mpg is my average for sure! Those weeks when I get higher than 31mpg feels pretty good. I just keep a log everytime I fill up on gas to see how I am doing.

One good side effect of driving this way is how it makes you feel. It takes way more control to speed up and coast slowly, drive at a slower speed on the highway than just speeding off as fast as possible. It makes my commutes much more calming and relaxing, because I have to be in that state in order to drive that way! Hehe the funnest part about it is watching other cars zoom up to the next red light, then catching up to them each and every time. I end up getting to my destination in the same amount of time, but without burning up my gas tank and all that braking.

How do you drive? Do you have a lead foot or do you practice hypermilling to get the most out of your gas?

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